Dr. Michael Ward to head HCU’s new C.S. Lewis Centre in Oxford

Houston Baptist University has recruited Dr. Michael Ward, one of the world’s pre-eminent scholars in C.S. Lewis studies and imaginative apologetics, as a professor in apologetics and the director of its new C.S. Lewis Centre in Oxford, England.

Ward will come on board full-time in August 2013, teaching online courses in the Master of Arts in Apologetics (MAA) program and directing HBU’s Lewis Centre in Oxford, where Lewis lived and taught for most of his life. The C.S. Lewis Centre will serve to promote the study of Lewis and imaginative apologetics and to expand the global reach of HBU’s apologetics program by allowing students in the MAA to study abroad and work with Ward in Oxford. Ward will also serve as academic adviser for UK-based students in the online MAA and come to Houston each spring for in-person work with students.

Ward is a senior research fellow at Blackfriars Hall, University of Oxford, and holds a doctorate in divinity from the University of St. Andrews.  He lectures internationally on Lewis, Tolkien and Christian apologetics. In America, he has spoken in 40 of the 50 states, including at the universities of Stanford, Chicago and Cornell, and at the Library of Congress.

Described by N.T. Wright as “the foremost living Lewis scholar” (Times Literary Supplement, 2009), Ward is the author of the groundbreaking study of Lewis’ writings, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis (Oxford University Press, 2008). He has also co-edited The Cambridge Companion to C.S. Lewis (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Ward is also gifted in bringing scholarly insights to a broader audience. He presented the BBC television documentary The Narnia Code, a popular and accessible introduction to the ideas expressed academically in his book Planet Narnia. And his on-screen appearances are not limited to the BBC; Ward’s most unusual distinction is that he handed a pair of X-ray spectacles to James Bond in the movie The World Is Not Enough.

From 1996 to 1999, Ward was resident warden and curator of The Kilns, C.S. Lewis’ Oxford home. More recently, he has been responsible for securing a memorial to C.S. Lewis in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey. Ward is leading the fundraising efforts as well as organizing a two-day conference for the unveiling of the memorial, which will take place Nov. 21-22, 2013, the 50th anniversary of Lewis’ death.

“I am delighted to see Dr. Ward join the burgeoning HBU apologetics team,” said HBU Provost Dr. John Mark Reynolds. “Dr. Ward is uniquely qualified to take leadership in the C.S. Lewis Centre for HBU. He demonstrates the breadth of education and the ability to communicate that education that follows in the footsteps of C.S. Lewis.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Ward to our full-time faculty,” said Dr. Holly Ordway, chair of the Department of Apologetics at HBU. “His expertise in theological imagination, Christian apologetics, and the writings of C.S. Lewis will be a huge asset to the cutting-edge work we are doing in the apologetics program at HBU. There is no one in the world better suited to lead the C.S. Lewis Centre for HBU and to help our program have a global impact.”

Houston Baptist University is an independent, private Christian liberal arts institution with a diverse student body. The University is dedicated to the development of the intellect, the moral character and the spiritual lives of its students. It has access to all the cultural advantages of one of the largest metropolitan centers in the country.